My Winter Walk-Off: Las Cruces, 2017

I’m late!

This Las Cruces spring may have begun in January. We shared neighboring El Paso’s warmest December-February in over 100 years of records. 2 weeks actually felt like winter, 2 days here and there – little winter to walk off.

Here’s what I saw on my block Saturday 3/18/2017, 84F and no humidity:

But how about this backdrop of floating mountains…every day I drive to work.


A good example of Pueblo Revival architecture, and her metal work of our town’s three cross symbol is a contemporary take on tradition.

My neighborhood is mostly retired midwesterners of a different cloth than the retirees in my former ABQ hood. The plants speak loudly.

My spread-out neighborhood was developed in the 1980’s on desert sand hills immediately above the fertile Rio Grande Valley, where chiles, pecans, onions, and cotton rule. Though Las Cruces is the 2nd largest town in New Mexico, outside downtown and the Mesilla Plaza it is of a rural to suburban scale.

Always with those jagged Organ Mountains, which often resemble a western movie backdrop.

Fouquieria splendens is about to burst forth with red blooms.


In my travels the consistently tallest and fullest Ocotillo grow between about 2000-4500 feet in the high deserts. Like here.

Onward –

There are less palms in my neighborhood than many, though there are still plenty. The ever-tough Washingtonia filifera are the most common.

Among the vernacular rock walls in town, some are mortared a little better. Definitely not the craftsmanship here to emulate the amazing dry stack walls typical in, say, New England. But this dry-look mortared garden wall isn’t shabby.


Less fettered by brown stucco and Pueblo Revival styles than where I lived in ABQ, there are some good Desert Contemporary designs here.

Even if a bit neglected.

FYI – this neighborhood, like many others in this price range in my region of the US, have NO walkability. Every day I see residents walking along the curbs, in competition with speeding contractor trucks, drivers texting, and so on.

Any sidewalks are usually just the frontage of 1 or 2 houses, in hopes of more.

Good thing my neighbors are alert, though most are 60+ years old. I also enjoy that the majority are friendly and sophisticated, and it’s only 10 minutes of rural driving to work.


The last few houses…

Imagine this contemporary Pueblo style house, but with plantings used well.



The circle of vegetation was retained for my neighbors and I, plus our cluster mailbox. The house I’m renting has the white garage door, and the small mountain behind me is 4900’+ Picacho Mountain. I smile each time I see it.

Before the summer monsoon rains made the access road off limits to my Toyota Corolla, I hiked up it many times.


That’s as close as you get to my house, which has no garden anyway!

Here’s a link to others’ winter walk-offs and Les’ blog post, which I missed. but he might not be doing a winter walk-off post?


3 Replies to “My Winter Walk-Off: Las Cruces, 2017”

  1. Hi Dave,

    I’ve never visited Las Cruces, so I really appreciated the tour through residential neighborhoods. I second what you said about how full and beautiful ocotillo are that grow in higher elevations – they are truly stunning. However, I am pretty happy with mine that is covered in blooms right now :-).

    I should do a landscape walk in different areas to give people a taste of this little-known town? You’re right on ocotillos, the low desert ones unfettered by cold and develop the most amazing contortions and heights…another blog post idea!


  2. Love the clean lines of the homes in your new hood. I’ll take you up on that trade of some sun and heat for our old city hall building. After all, no one is using it here anyway. Happy spring!

    Good to hear from the Outlaw himself! Yes, clean lines are soothing in their own way. We have sun to give away, and dry air…humidity 4% at 88F this afternoon!


  3. I always enjoy seeing posts from such different places than my own. Your posts has two surprises, well one really. I am always surprised but shouldn’t by people who insist on growing things that require much in the way of inputs, like bluegrass needing water in the desert. I am also surprised that our own native yaupon holly does well where you are. Thanks for joining my walk off.

    You bet, even though at this point here it could be spring walk-off. Agreed on seeing other places’ gardens and looks. Even surprises…too bad 2 other large golf courses here also use bluegrass, and none of the more lower water / care target course layouts. Yaupons do so well in southern and central NM.

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